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Tuesday, October 8, 2013

Learning to Think

The recent shutdown of Congress is teaching me how to survive in The Kingdom of Saudi Arabia. I am often frustrated by living in a place that disregards logic and chooses aesthetics over functionality. But then I look at the mess going on back home and realize that we don't always choose function either.

As for the Kingdom, there seems to be a decided push towards how things look to other people rather than how things work. Most of my students have never been taught critical thinking and I suppose that makes sense. Why would or should one think critically in a society that makes decisions for you; decisions based on appearing pious rather than improving quality of life? I have already written about the traffic and pollution problems. Everyone seems to operate on a "it only matters that I get what I want" mentality. Every one is in a rush.

However, when it comes to the administration of the life here, nothing is done quickly. I have been here two months now and still have not received my ID card, or Iquama. This ID is needed for everything: to travel, book a hotel, get a sim card, open a bank account, upgrade internet, book an airline ticket, send money to the USA, and many other basic needs. Tomorrow is the last day before a 10 day holiday and me and the other teachers who started when I did will be stuck here without the ability to travel or be productive in making life more manageable for the duration of the holiday. Form over function can blow me.

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